Temperature concerns for children during exercises
Published April 24, 2017
There was an active-shooter exercise which took place during the last week of February 2017 which resulted in the complete evacuation of the A-Basin Child Development Center. Unfortunately, it was very cold that day (I don't think it even reached 25 degrees) and children as young as infants were taken outside wearing nothing more than T-Shirts. Once outside, they were brought to the Chapel for the duration of the evacuation, and then escorted back to the CDC. I personally witnessed multiple very young children shivering even after being brought back inside...some even had their arms pulled into their shirts. Staff admitted that they grabbed jackets/blankets if they could, but it was very rushed...as a real-world evacuation should/would be.
Question - Does 460 ABW leadership account for the weather when planning exercises/evacuations that involve children as young as 6-weeks old? Evacuating for a real-world threat is understandable, but planning a "drill" on such a cold day does not seem like a safe choice for such young children.
Thank you for your thoughtful note and for sharing your concerns. I, too, share your concern for the safety and care of our children. As I am sure you have seen thru numerous initiatives in recent months, the 460th Space Wing exercise planners and the entire wing leadership team take safety very seriously. During exercise planning, the safety of all personnel is taken into careful consideration. For that reason, our Child Development Centers are normally exempted from participating in these types of exercises. We have worked with our CDC staff to incorporate lessons learned from this past exercise, and to more clearly identify the circumstances that led to the situation you've described and, where needed, implement fix actions. Moving forward, we will continue to make every effort to ensure positive and procedural controls are put in place to avoid any unnecessary risk. Again, thank you for your note, and please let me know if I can further address your concerns.
Col David Miller
Commander, 460th Space Wing